Father 'devastated' after plaster falls into daughter's cot 'due to issues with new build home'

James is worried the cracks are getting bigger. He said these images were taken a month apart
-Credit: (Image: Supplied)

A Leicestershire father has said he was left "devastated" when plaster fell off a wall in his new build home and into his two-year-old daughter's cot while she was in it. James Dean claimed one of the drainage pipes for his home was not connected into the drainage system and that rainwater was therefore entering the foundations.

Mr Dean, from Markfield, claimed this led to cracks appearing in a wall in his daughter's bedroom and resulted in the plaster fall. A letter, seen by LeicestershireLive, that was sent from the National House Building Council, the UK’s largest provider of new home warranties, to Mr Dean acknowledged that the “cracking to the front right corner of the property is as a result of incorrectly constructed drainage”.

A spokesperson for the housebuilder, Jelson, told LeicestershireLive that it was sorry Mr Dean was unhappy with his home, but claimed that in the six years the previous owners had lived there, they had "raised no issues" with the home.

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Cracking in one of the rooms in a new-build Markfield home
Cracking in one of the rooms in a new-build Markfield home -Credit:Supplied

Mr Dean said: “This house should be condemned." He claimed that errors in the original build were causing "a major issue" now.

"There was a drain pipe on either side of the house, the one on the right was never put into the drainage," he claimed. "Over eight years [since it was built] all the rainwater has gone into the foundation and into the wall. They have removed the one on the right hand side and are going to replace it. They have taken the pipe, so when it rains it just overflows.”

He claimed the cracks eventually led to plaster falling off the wall and into his daughter's cot. When he saw the plaster, he said, he was “devastated.” His daughter was not injured in the incident.

Mr Dean also said he was unsatisfied with how the NHBC had dealt with his claims. When Mr Dean contacted the NHBC with his concerns about the cracking, it replied in a letter, seen by LeicestershireLive, suggesting that he move his daughter’s cot from the wall where the cracking was taking place. The letter read that "whilst unsightly, this does not indicate a serious issue with the structural stability of the property”.

Mr Dean claimed: “When [the NHBC] first came round they were umming and ahhing about 'does a 50 pence coin fit in the crack?'. They sent a chap around, and I said ‘are my daughters safe?’. He laughed at me and said of course they are. The response to me was the most upsetting thing - 'just move the cot'.”

He claimed that since moving in in October 2022, the situation has caused “a lot of stress”. “We have been living here for two years now, I feel every day there is a new crack appearing, damp appearing, there’s nobody that will listen,” he said. “They are not trying to resolve the issues. It’s caused a lot of stress on our family life, you do not know where you are going with it. Something is fundamentally wrong with this house. So I want to house swap, I just do not feel safe in this house, my wife doesn’t for the kids either.”

Cracks have also opened up on the outside of the property
Cracks have also opened up on the outside of the property -Credit:Supplied

A spokesperson for Jelson said the previous homeowners, who had bought the home in March 2016, had “raised no issues with the property during the six years they had taken ownership”. They said: “Our first correspondence from the NHBC was in December 2022 and pertained to a visible external crack to the front of the property.

"The NHBC further contacted Jelson in January 2023 noting that their initial investigation was inconclusive as to whether or not the claim would be covered by the policy and that we were to await further review. In March 2023 they reported necessary works brought to light by a drainage CCTV survey, which Jelson agreed to carry out and furthermore stated that they would be undertaking crack monitoring to ascertain whether there may be other contributing factors, as well as to determine whether the property stabilised.”

The Jelson spokesperson said that the monitoring remained ongoing, and said the company offered its “sympathies for Mr Dean’s dissatisfaction with the current state of his property”.

A spokesperson for the NHBC said: "We appreciate that a house is the biggest single investment many people will make and understand how frustrating it can be when things are not right. NHBC’s 10-year warranty and insurance policy for new-build homes, known as Buildmark, protects homeowners in the event of serious structural defects, for example, structural problems with walls and roofs. We are in contact with the owner with regards to this claim and are working to resolve matters in line with the provisions of their Buildmark policy."

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